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Alvin and the Chipmunks
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Alvin and the Chipmunks (2015-present)|
the film series (1987-present)
Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983-1990)
The Alvin Show (1961-1962) character
|First appearance||1958: Created|
1961: The Alvin Show
|Created by||Ross Bagdasarian Sr.|
|Portrayed by||Film series (1987-present)|
|Voiced by||Ross Bagdasarian Sr. (1958-1972) |
Ross Bagdasarian Jr. (1979-present)
|Present Episode(s)||ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks|
|Awards||Hollywood Walk of Fame|
|Alias||Alvin, Simon and Theodore|
|Relatives||Dave Seville (adoptive father)|
Toby Seville (film)
Alvin and the Chipmunks, originally David Seville and the Chipmunks or simply the Chipmunks, are an American animated virtual band created by Ross Bagdasarian Sr. for a novelty record in 1958. The group consists of three singing animated anthropomorphic chipmunks: Alvin, the mischievous troublemaker, who quickly became the star of the group; Simon, the tall, bespectacled intellectual; and Theodore, the chubby, impressionable sweetheart. The trio is managed by their human adoptive father, David (Dave) Seville. In reality, "David Seville" was Bagdasarian's stage name, and the Chipmunks themselves are named after the executives of their original record label. The characters became a success, and the singing Chipmunks and their manager were given life in several animated cartoon productions, using redrawn, anthropomorphic chipmunks, and eventually films.
The voices of the group were all performed by Bagdasarian, who sped up the playback to create high-pitched voices. This oft-used process was not entirely new to Bagdasarian, who had also used it for two previous novelty songs, including "Witch Doctor", but it was so unusual and well-executed it earned the record two Grammy Awards for engineering. Bagdasarian, performing as the Chipmunks, released a long line of albums and singles, with "The Chipmunk Song" becoming a number-one single in the United States. After Bagdasarian's death in 1972, the characters' voices were performed by his son Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and the latter's wife Janice Karman in the subsequent incarnations of the 1980s and 1990s.
In the 2007 CGI/live-action film adaptation and its 2009 sequel, they were voiced in dialogue by Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney. Bagdasarian Jr. and Karman continue to perform the singing voices for Alvin, Theodore and the Chipettes, but Steve Vining does Simon's singing voice. The project has earned five Grammy awards, an American Music Award, a Golden Reel Award, and three Kids' Choice Awards, and has been nominated for three Emmy awards.
A third film installment, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, was released in theaters on December 16, 2011. Fox 2000 Pictures and Regency Enterprises announced a fourth installment, titled Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, released on December 18, 2015.
Through the continued success of the franchise, the Chipmunks have become the most successful children's artists of all time while garnering two number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, winning five Grammy Awards, having four Top 10 albums on the Billboard 200, three certified platinum albums and the song "The Chipmunk Song" became one of the best-selling singles of all time with 5 million physical copies sold.
In 1958, Ross Bagdasarian Sr. released a novelty song (as David Seville) about being unsuccessful at love until he found a witch doctor who told him how to woo his woman. The song was done by Bagdasarian in his normal voice, except for the "magic" words, done first in Bagdasarian's pitched-up, pre-Chipmunk voice, then in a duet between his pitched-up voice and his normal voice. The words themselves are nonsense: "Oo-ee, oo-ah-ah, ting-tang, walla-walla, bing-bang".
The song was a hit, holding number one for three weeks in the Billboard Top 100 chart. Nothing makes any reference to chipmunks, but the song is sometimes included on Chipmunk compilations, as if the Chipmunks had provided the voice of the Witch Doctor. Bagdasarian did record a Chipmunks version of "Witch Doctor", which appeared on the second Chipmunks album, Sing Again with the Chipmunks, in 1960. Bagdasarian performed the song "live" (with a pre-recorded track of the pitched-up voice) on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Bagdasarian (again as Seville) recorded a follow-up song, "The Bird on My Head", singing a duet with his own sped-up voice as the bird. It also reached the Top 40, peaking at No. 34. While driving in Sequoia National Park, Bagdasarian saw a chipmunk dash in front of him. That moment inspired him to create his chipmunk characters.
The Chipmunks first officially appeared on the scene in a novelty record released in late fall 1958 by Bagdasarian. The song, originally listed on the record label (Liberty F-55168) as "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)", featured the singing skills of the chipmunk trio. One phrase in the chorus has Alvin wishing for a hula hoop, which was that year's hot new toy. The novelty record was highly successful, selling more than 4 million copies in seven weeks, and it launched the careers of its chipmunk stars. It spent four weeks at Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart from December 22, 1958 to January 12, 1959, succeeding "To Know Him Is To Love Him" at Number 1 on the same chart by another fictional animal act, the Teddy Bears. It also earned three Grammy Awards and a nomination for Record of the Year. At the height of its popularity, Bagdasarian and three chipmunk hand-puppets appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, lip-synching the song. "The Chipmunk Song" appeared on the Chipmunks' debut album, Let's All Sing with the Chipmunks, in 1959, and was repeated on Christmas with the Chipmunks, released in 1962. The song also has been included on several compilation albums.
Bob Rivers did a parody of this song for his 2000 Christmas album Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire which was titled "The Twisted Chipmunk Song". In the song, the Chipmunks are referred to as Thagadore (Theodore), Squeaky (Simon), and Melvin (Alvin).
The Chipmunks first appeared in comic book form on Dell's Four Color Comics series, issue #1042 (cover-dated Dec. 1959). Alvin, Theodore and Simon were depicted as somewhat realistic, nearly identical anthropomorphic rodents with almond-shaped eyes. When Herb Klynn's Format Films made a deal to develop the Three Chipmunks for animation, the old designs were rejected and new versions of the characters were created. Liberty Records eventually re-issued the early albums with the "new" Chipmunks and it was this new version of the Chipmunks that was used when Alvin's own title was released by Dell in 1962.
The first television series to feature the characters was The Alvin Show. By this period, the Chipmunks looked much like their modern incarnations. Also, an animated portrayal of Seville was a reasonable caricature of Bagdasarian himself. The series ran from 1961 to 1962, and was one of a small number of animated series to be shown in prime time on CBS. It was never an immediate success in prime time and was canceled after one season, only to find new life in syndication.
In addition to Alvin cartoons, the series also featured the scientist Clyde Crashcup and his assistant Leonardo. Those characters did not feature prominently on any of the later series. Crashcup made a single cameo appearance in A Chipmunk Christmas, and in an episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks. The television series was produced by Format Films for Bagdasarian Film Corporation. Although the series was broadcast in black and white, it was produced and later re-run in color. 26 episodes each were produced for the Alvin and the Chipmunks and Clyde Crashcup segments, along with 52 musical segments.
The final Chipmunks album in the project's original incarnation, The Chipmunks Go to the Movies, was released in 1969. After the death of Ross Bagdasarian in 1972 from a heart attack, the Chipmunks' careers stalled until NBC showed interest in the original show (the network carried Saturday morning reruns of The Alvin Show as a midseason replacement in 1979) and the following year, Excelsior Records released a new album of contemporary songs performed by the Chipmunks. That album, Chipmunk Punk, featured Bagdasarian's son, Ross Bagdasarian Jr., doing the voices of the characters. That album and the continued reruns of the series proved to be popular enough to warrant further new records as well as a new television production, and in 1981, the Chipmunks and Seville returned to television in the Christmas special A Chipmunk Christmas, produced by Marvel Productions, which was first broadcast on NBC on December 14 of that year. Next year, two more albums were released (Chipmunk Rock and The Chipmunks Go Hollywood).
The group's name changed from "the Chipmunks" to "Alvin and the Chipmunks". In 1983, a second animated television series for the group, produced by Ruby-Spears Productions, was released. Titled simply Alvin and the Chipmunks, the outline of the show closely paralleled the original Alvin Show. The series lasted eight production seasons, until 1990. In the first season, the show introduced the Chipettes, three female versions of the Chipmunks -- Brittany, Jeanette, and Eleanor, who each paralleled the original Chipmunks in personality except for Brittany being vainer than Alvin, with Jeanette smart like Simon, and Eleanor fond of food like Theodore, with their own human guardian, the myopic Miss Beatrice Miller (who arrived for the 1986 season). The success of the show led to the release of a soundtrack album in 1984, Songs from Our TV Shows.
The Chipmunks even walked[clarification needed] a variation of NBC's "Let's All Be There" campaign[clarification needed] for its Saturday-morning lineup in 1984 (shows included The Smurfs, Snorks, Going Bananas, Pink Panther and Sons, Kidd Video, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Mister T, etc.). After 1988, the show was renamed just The Chipmunks to indicate that there were now two groups of them. Also introduced was the boys' "Uncle" Harry, who may or may not have actually been a relative. The show reflected contemporaneous trends in popular culture; the Chipmunks sang recent hits, and wore contemporary clothing. One "documentary" episode spoofed John Lennon's 1966 infamous comment that the Beatles had become "more popular than Jesus", by recalling how the Chipmunks had fallen in popularity after Alvin boasted they were "bigger than Mickey Mouse!". In 1985, the Chipmunks, along with the Chipettes, were featured in the live stage show, Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Amazing Computer. In 1987, during the fifth season of the show on television, the Chipmunks had their first animated feature film, The Chipmunk Adventure, directed by Janice Karman and Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and released to theaters by The Samuel Goldwyn Company. The film featured the Chipmunks and the Chipettes in a contest traveling around the world.
In the 1988-89 season, the show switched production companies to DIC Entertainment, by which time the Chipmunks had truly become anthropomorphized. In 1990, the show switched titles again to The Chipmunks Go to the Movies. Each episode in this season was a spoof of a Hollywood film, such as Back to the Future, King Kong, and others. In addition, several television specials featuring the characters were also released. At the conclusion of the eighth season, the show was canceled again. In 1990, a documentary was produced about the show entitled Alvin and the Chipmunks/Five Decades with the Chipmunks. In that year, the Chipmunks also teamed up for the only time with other famous cartoon stars (such as Bugs Bunny, Garfield, etc.) for the drug abuse-prevention special Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue.
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In the 1983 series it is revealed that the boys' mother Vinnie is a similarly anthropomorphic chipmunk living in a nearby forest. One year a particularly harsh winter had caused a nut shortage, and the forest dwellers were barely able to forage enough food for themselves. Vinnie realized that her newborn children would likely not survive the winter and so was forced to give them up. She anonymously left them on Dave's doorstep as she had earlier seen him treating forest creatures kindly. She did return a couple of years later but had seen that they were happy in their new life with Dave and decided to leave things as they were. The boys were unaware of their origins until they asked Dave during an argument over their exact date of their birthday. Dave was unsure, as Vinnie had never revealed herself to him, but the boys investigated and eventually tracked her down.
In the 2007 feature film the chipmunks are living in a tree, fending for themselves as their parents had taken off to join a hippie commune, and having problems gathering nuts for the winter. Their tree is cut down and carted off to grace the entrance lobby of a city office building, with them in it. They then hitch a ride in a basket of pastries Dave is carrying and wind up in his home, where they wreak havoc, cause an uproar in his kitchen and get thrown out before showing Dave how well they can sing and becoming celebrities as a result. Despite repeatedly testing Dave's putting up with them, they finally win his heart.
Alvin is the lead vocalist and is the oldest brother of the Chipmunks, as evidenced in the 1983's episode Grounded Chipmunk. He wears a red baseball cap and sweater sporting a yellow "A". His eyes are blue (amber in the live action/animated films) and his build is medium. In personality, Alvin is enthusiastic, mischievous, charming, wacky, prideful, hot-tempered, and funny. The term look before you leap does not usually apply to Alvin as he is impulsive, excitable and optimistic. He often makes up harebrained schemes to achieve his goals, whether it be trying to help his brothers, keeping Dave from figuring something out, or getting out of a sticky situation. Alvin seems to refer to his often illogical or crazy plans as "challenging the ordinary". He is proud of his fame and often comes off as self-centered and vain, but Alvin does have a kind heart and loves his brothers very much, often proving that his heart is stronger than his voice. He is also not ashamed to admit when he is wrong and will help others when the time comes. There are times when Alvin displays true selflessness, such as when he gave his golden Echo harmonica to a sick boy at Christmas and when he helped Theodore get Nathan, a bully, off his back for a while. Also, it's sometimes suggested that Alvin does not have an opinion so high as he seems. Certain episodes as Alvin in Analysis (1985) and The Wall (2015) deepen Alvin as a secretly insecure individual who depends on his popularity and fame to prop up his ego.
He is shown to be infatuated with Brittany, although they often quarrel with each other, but they look out for each other when things look bad. He sometimes struggles with her to prove who is the better, such as when he and Brittany each ran for class president at their school in the animated series, but he is often kind to her and is implied to have a crush on her. He sometimes displays affection for Brittany such as hugging her, kissing her hand or cheeks, and comforting her when she is upset. In the CGI episode Brittany the Body Snatcher, Alvin overheard two girls, named Annie and Tracy, insulting Brittany and he stood up for her, displaying his gentle side once again.
Like his brothers, Alvin was originally voiced by Ross Bagdasarian Sr. In the animated series and film, he was voiced by Ross Bagdasarian Jr. Justin Long voiced Alvin in the live-action/animated film series. On July 30, 2002, Alvin was No. 44 on TV Guide's list of "Top 50 Best Cartoon Characters of All Time". His personality was based on one of Ross Jr.'s brothers, Adam Bagdasarian, who had a rebellious streak.
Simon is the middle brother and the tallest and thinnest of the Chipmunks, which has often confused fans as to whether he or Alvin is the oldest of the Chipmunks. In addition to having an IQ just north of Einstein, Simon possesses a dry sense of humor as well as a keen wit. He wears glasses and blue attire and has blue eyes (a trait he shares with Alvin). Simon is an enthusiastic scientist, with his own laboratory in the basement of the Chipmunks' house and is known to read classical literature as well as science texts. In personality, Simon is kind, gentle, logical, responsible, and at times poetic, and often takes charge when Alvin goes too far with his harebrained schemes. Although Simon tends to disagree and argue with Alvin, he truly loves his brother and sticks by him despite everything. Simon tends to hold grudges, but these are often short-lived as he knows that he should be more forgiving. Simon plays the bass, bass clarinet, saxophone, bagpipes, tuba, and drums, among others. In vocal harmonies, he consistently sings the lower parts due to having a deeper voice than his brothers. He is shown playing the keyboard in the original open for the 1980s series. He was also shown playing guitar in a 1980s Hardee's commercial.
Simon is often implied to have a crush on Jeanette, as she is like him in many details; wearing glasses and blue or purple attire and having a high IQ, possibly rivaling his own. However, he seems braver in standing up to siblings than her because Jeanette does not often stand up for herself when Brittany pushes her around. But like Simon to Alvin, Jeanette shares a sisterly bond with Brittany. Simon and Jeanette are rather shy around each other and are not very open with their feelings, but Simon does display physical affection for Jeanette, including catching her when she falls, holding her hand, and giving her hugs.
Like his brothers, Simon was originally voiced by Ross Bagdasarian Sr. In the animated series and film, he was voiced by Ross Bagdasarian Jr. Matthew Gray Gubler voiced Simon in the live-action/animated film series.
Theodore is the child of innocence and the youngest of the Chipmunks. He is shy, loving, sensitive, chubby, gullible, trusting, and naïve. In short, he is an easy target for Alvin's manipulations. He wears green attire and has green eyes (brown in the CGI animated series). Theodore often holds the swing vote between his two brothers' choices of action: Simon appeals to Theodore's better nature while Alvin goes straight to bribery. He has a big appetite, constantly craving snacks and in one episode, Theodore tried to eat Alvin's hand because of his hunger. He plays the drums, the guitar, and other instruments. In vocal harmonies, his voice is typically the highest. He is fragile yet unpredictable and not very brave, but he will put on a brave face when his brothers are in trouble. At times, he is childish and Alvin's follower, but he is also the glue that binds his brothers despite Alvin and Simon's differences and regular disagreements. Although he is sometimes teased by Alvin, Theodore loves his big brother and knows that Alvin loves him too.
He seems to have affection for Eleanor, who shares physical traits with him, but she is smarter, braver and more athletic. They each have a passion for cooking, as Theodore is seen baking Christmas cookies in some Christmas episodes. In the live action/animated films, it is revealed that Theodore is sensitive about his weight and is often hurt when he is criticized for his chubby physique. This also applies to Eleanor, but she is able to stand for herself and wishes that Theodore would do the same.
Like his brothers, he was originally voiced by Ross Bagdasarian Sr. In the animated series and film, his voice was provided by Janice Karman, Ross Bagdasarian Jr.'s wife and the voice of all three Chipettes. Jesse McCartney voiced Theodore in the live-action/animated film series.
Brittany is the lead singer and is the oldest of the Chipettes (evidenced in the 1980s episode "May the Best Chipmunk Win"), and is the female counterpart of Alvin. She wears pink attire and has red hair often drawn up in a ponytail and has blue eyes. Brittany is considerably beautiful, self-centered, ambitious, and vain, but she does have a kind side and is loyal to her sisters, Jeanette and Eleanor. Brittany is often trying to look pretty and desires to make herself popular or get what she wants, but she does learn her lessons and is willing to do the right thing. Brittany often displays affection for Alvin as they are alike in many ways. Although she and Alvin are often quarrelsome with each other and often compete over who is the better, she does stick by his side in tough situations and deep down, she and Alvin do love each other. Brittany pushes Jeanette around a lot and takes advantage of her kindness, but deep down, they love each other very much and care about each other, proving that Brittany does have a gentle side. Eleanor always stands up to Brittany when she tries to push Jeanette around, but they do share a strong sisterly relationship.
Jeanette is the middle sister and smartest of the Chipettes, as well as the tallest. Like Simon, she wears glasses and blue attire. She has brown hair in a bun in the '80s show and a short ponytail in the recent films. Her eyes are green in her TV appearances and The Chipmunk Adventure but were changed to purple in the live-action/CGI films. In personality, Jeanette is intelligent, gentle, kind, compassionate, and attractive. She cares about Simon and gets along with him very well, although the two of them are very shy about their relationship. She is often pushed around by Brittany, but she loves her sister and knows that Brittany loves her too. Jeanette tries to be her best, but she is shy and often viewed as clumsy, as she does have a habit of tripping over her own feet. Still, she is beloved by her sisters and finds companionship with their guardian, Miss Miller.
Eleanor is the youngest of the Chipettes. She has a lot in common with Theodore in terms of body shape and color of attire, but she is braver, more fit and has a better memory. She is blonde with pigtails and has brown eyes in the 80's show, which changed to green in the more recent appearances. Eleanor is kind, sweet, trusting, courteous, and fairly pretty. She shares Theodore's love of food and she is also skilled in cooking, and she is the bassist for the Chipettes. Eleanor often stands up to Brittany when she pushes Jeanette around, but she loves her middle sister and is always willing to forgive. She seems to have affection for Theodore and they are the two most open about their relationship. Like him, Eleanor is sensitive about her weight and does not like to be insulted for it, but she often stands up for herself and wishes to help Theodore gain self-confidence. In the 2015 series, she is voiced by Vanessa Bagdasarian, the daughter of Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and Janice Karman.
David "Dave" Seville is a quick-tempered yet kind and somewhat insecure songwriter for the musical trio and Chipmunks' adoptive father and confidant. While Dave struggles to remain calm and objective, Alvin often irritates him, causing Dave to yell "Alvin!", to which Alvin (sometimes) responds with "Okay!" Dave plays piano and the guitar. He has short black hair and brown eyes. In the original incarnations of the group (including the original recordings and The Alvin Show) he is portrayed by Alvin and the Chipmunks creator Ross Bagdasarian Sr. In the 1983-1990 revival of the show, he is portrayed by Ross Bagdasarian Jr., the son of the original creator. For the series of films produced from 2007 to 2015, he is portrayed by Jason Lee.
In the 1983-1990 animated series, it is revealed that Dave first found the Chipmunks as infants abandoned on the doorstep of his old cottage. At first, he grows to like them but had trouble keeping them from misbehaving as he had important songs to write or else he'd lose his job. On top of that, Dave's landlord is a nasty man who even tries to kill the Chipmunks. However, Dave eventually hears their amazing singing voices and records them, making their song a hit and with the money they earn they manage to move into a large house, which Dave owns and live happily together as one big family. The mother of the Chipmunks has made a few guest appearances, to see how her children are doing, and Dave had to acquaint her with urban ways.
In the 2007 film, the visuals and history established in the animated show, are totally rebooted. Dave first discovers the boys eating food in his cabinets and he panics and throws them out. He later changes his mind and allows them into his home upon them showing their singing talent. However, the Chipmunks find an old letter and mistakenly think Dave does not want them anymore so they go to live with Ian Hawke, their conniving music producer; he begins to miss the boys and frees them from Ian. He welcomes the Chipmunks into his home and eventually he starts to love them like his own children.
However, in the 2009 sequel Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Dave plays a minor role in the film, mainly due to his being in the hospital in Paris. This happened due to Alvin accidentally causing a billboard to crash into him and he is sent flying across the room and is severely injured, so he is placed in intensive care. He is rarely seen in the film. His cousin Toby acts as both a main character and the Chipmunks' temporary guardian. Dave appears at the end of the film watching his boys and the Chipettes perform together.
Dave appears for a third time in Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, where he, the Chipmunks and Chipettes board a cruise ship heading to the International Music Awards. He gets mad at Alvin, Simon and the Chipettes for leaving their cabin room for their own reasons. Later, he teams up with his old enemy, Ian, to find the Chipmunks and Chipettes when the six get blown away while hang-gliding a kite. He and Ian find them and leave the island with them before its volcano erupts. with Ian getting his career back. He later watches his family perform at the International Music Awards; he is last seen on an airplane with them heading for home.
In the fourth film, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, Dave now owns a music record company, and moves to a new home with the Chipmunks and Chipettes. Upset from Alvin throwing a surprise birthday bash, to his dismay, he decides to take his lover, Samantha, to Florida for one of his client's album release parties, instead of taking the Chipmunks. Both Samantha and Dave leave, leaving Samantha's son, Miles, to stay with the Chipmunks, being that the Chipettes have gone to judge in American Idol. Dave, for most of the movie, is at Florida, having dinners with Samantha. After being suspected of going to propose to her, Dave is unwittingly sabotaged by Miles and the Chipmunks. He also gets upset, as the Chipmunks presumed, ruining his coworker's proposal, and for causing much trouble on their trip to stop him. Alvin, Simon, Theodore, and Miles perform for Dave as an apology, during his client's album release, finally mending the ruined proposal of Dave's coworker. Back to Los Angeles, Dave adopts the boys, and is last seen yelling Alvin's name after he finds his home wrecked.
Ian is played by comedian David Cross and serves as the main antagonist in the first two films. He is Dave's friend-turned-rival and former college roommate and serves as the CEO of Jett Records in the first film. One day, the Chipmunks sneak off to his home to audition, whereupon he automatically signs them on to the label. He rockets them to the top of the music business but after seeing how much they are truly worth, he attempts to lure them away from Dave for his own profit. His plan ultimately fails, as the Chipmunks have learned of it and escaped from his grasp, thus leaving him to be ousted from his job as CEO of Jett Records.
In the second film, Ian is now unemployable, in debt, and lives in the basement of Jett Records stating that he lost everything except his dignity. However, he happens upon the Chipettes who want to be famous like the Chipmunks, and cannot wait to make them famous, so he takes them in, in hopes of getting his sworn revenge on the Chipmunks. He enrolls the Chipettes into the same school as the Chipmunks, and after showing Dr. Rubin (Wendie Malick) their talent, she agrees to let them battle the Chipmunks for the right to represent the school for the district's music competition. However, in the climax, Ian decides to blow off the competition to have the Chipettes to perform at a Britney Spears concert, and takes them by force, threatening to take them to a barbecue restaurant if they will not comply. Alvin saves the Chipettes from Ian, who then tries to imitate them at the Britney Spears concert, only to get thrown into a dumpster by security guards, losing everything again, including his dignity.
Ian makes his third and final appearance in the third film. Here, Ian has mellowed and now works on the Carnival Dream cruise ship, dressed in a pelican suit because record labels are not interested in hiring him for ruining the concert of the Chipmunks, the Chipettes and for passing on Justin Bieber twice. As a well-respected mascot, he takes his job very seriously and threatens to have Dave and the Chipmunks removed from the ship if they continue to act up. However, he becomes Dave's friend again while helping him find the Chipmunks after they were marooned on the island. In the end, he gets his wealth back by starting a career as a screenwriter, having sold a screenplay about Zoe's story to Hollywood. However, he did not appear in the fourth film.
Claire is Dave's ex-girlfriend who adores the Chipmunks after she finally gets to meet them. She becomes good friends with Dave again by the end of the movie, despite this, she is nowhere to be found in the sequels. She is played by Cameron Richardson.
Dave's immature and very careless second cousin who appeared in the second film. Toby is a slacker who loves to play video games and still lives with his grandmother and Dave's aunt, Jackie Seville, until he figures out what he wants to do with his life. Toby's immaturity keeps him from acting like an adult (although he seems to take on some responsibility in the middle of the film), and he has a crush on the Chipmunks' homeroom and music teacher, Julie Ortega (Erika Casanova), ever since he went to the same school as the Chipmunks. He is played by Zachary Levi.
Zoe is a deluded and kindhearted castaway who was found by the Chipmunks when they end up being marooned on an island that she took refuge. She claims to be on the island for eight or nine years. At first, she was believed to have crash-landed on the island, but it turns out that she intentionally came there to look for treasure. She is played by former SNL actress Jenny Slate and is the main antagonist-turned anti-hero of the third film.
Agent James Suggs is the main antagonist of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip. He is an air marshal who personally despises the Chipmunks for being dumped by his girlfriend and plots to hunt them down and have revenge. He first appears on an airplane where Theodore releases a monkey from a cage, who releases several other animals. Suggs confronts the Chipmunks and gets attacked by the animals. He next encounters Alvin at a bar and fights him, but the Chipmunks escape. He then chases them, but runs into a sign and gets knocked out. When he finds them at a musical parade he tries to catch them, but gets hit by a trumpet and then gets drunk. He wakes up in a room with a man and finds a tattoo on his stomach and another one of the Chipmunks on his back. He goes to a rental car station and urges a man to get him the fastest car he has got to find the Chipmunks, but it is a yellow and (sort of) slow car. He initially is embarrassed, but accepts the car. He then finds the Chipmunks in a hotel and catches them in an elevator, but the Chipmunks defeat him by hitting the emergency stop button and leaving him trapped inside. During the mid-credits, he is released by a maid and is escorted to a pool. He then gets confronted by a man who tells him to move, but Suggs refuses and is subsequently carried out by two guards. He is presumably fired as air marshal for harassing the Chipmunks. He is similar to Ian Hawke. He is portrayed by Tony Hale.
Samantha is a supporting character in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip. She first appears at a miniature golf course with her son Miles (who is later introduced into the movie). Her occupation is a doctor. She is Dave's girlfriend and believed to become his fiancé. She is portrayed by Kimberly Williams-Paisley.
The kindly, absent-minded adoptive mother of the Chipettes. She occasionally babysits the Chipmunks and has a crush on Dave, even though she's old enough to be his mother. In her youth, she was part of an all-girl singing group called the Thrillers. She appeared in the 1983 TV series and was voiced by Dody Goodman.
The character does not exist in the rebooted concept of the Chipettes.
Clyde Crashcup - voiced by Shepard Menken - is a scientist in a white coat whose experiments invariably failed. His was the only voice heard in many of the episodes, because the other character in the series was his assistant Leonardo, who only whispered into Clyde's ear in order to communicate with him. In one episode, though, Clyde invented a wife, voiced by June Foray. Clyde had one of the four segments, and the Chipmunks starred in the other three (two of which were musical segments). In the episode "Crashcup Invents the Birthday Party", Foray provided the (all too audible) voice for the mother of Crashcup's inaudible assistant, Leonardo.
Clyde Crashcup was primarily an inventor rather than a researcher, although he tended to "invent" things which had already been invented. However, in one episode, he built a functioning time machine. He typically would invent something by taking a pencil out of his lab coat's pocket and drawing a picture in midair of his conception: the picture would then become the actual object.
The Chipmunks' voices were recorded at half the normal tape speed onto audiotape by voice talent (on the 60's records, generally Ross Bagdasarian Sr.'s own voice overdubbed three times, on the post-80's records, studio singers) talking or singing at half the normal speaking rate. When the tape was played back at normal speed, they would sound a full octave higher in pitch, at normal tempo. The technique was by no means new to the Chipmunks. For example, the high- and low-pitched characters in The Wizard of Oz were achieved by speeding up and slowing down vocal recordings. Also, Mel Blanc's voice characterization for Daffy Duck was sped up to some extent. Now, the same effect is created digitally and in real time with a pitch shift.
However, the extensive use of this technique with the Chipmunks, coupled with their popularity, linked this technique to them. The term "chipmunk-voiced" has entered the American vernacular to describe any artificially high-pitched voice. A similar effect could be obtained in playback by merely taking an LP recorded at 33 RPM and playing it back at 45 or 78 RPM, a trick sometimes tried out by ordinary record listeners. The instrumental portions of the song are sped up as well, however, making it obvious that the music is being played at the wrong speed. Bagdasarian recorded vocals and music at different speeds to combine properly on his recording. Guitarist Les Paul said he visited Bagdasarian's studio in 1958 and helped with the recording.
The technique was used extensively in the British puppet show Pinky and Perky, which pre-dated the Chipmunks. The sound was frequently imitated in comedy records, notably "Transistor Radio" by Benny Hill, "Bridget the Midget" by Ray Stevens, "The Laughing Gnome" by David Bowie, and on several tracks on Joe Meek and the Blue Men's album I Hear a New World. The technique also appears in the "Yeah! You!" line of the Coasters' song "Charlie Brown". Prince used the technique on several of his songs, as well as Frank Zappa on We're Only In It For The Money and on the instrumental album Hot Rats, among others. The early production style of hip-hop artist Kanye West involved sped-up, high-pitch vocal samples from classic soul records incorporated with his own (additional) instrumentation. Due in part to the acclaim of his debut album The College Dropout, such sampling techniques subsequently became much copied by a myriad of other hip-hop producers. In the early '90s rave scene, many breakbeat hardcore productions would utilize the same studio tricks, often taking a cappella from house records and speeding them up to fit the faster tempo. Vocals in songs that used this method would typically be referred to as "chipmunk vocals".
The Chipmunks made their first guest appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on December 13, 1959, when they performed "The Chipmunk Song".
The Chipmunks appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade twice; 1983 and 1986. In the 1983 parade, they performed Tomorrow. In 1986, they performed The Girls of Rock and Roll with The Chipettes as a way to promote their film, "The Chipmunk Adventure", which was released six months later.
The Chipmunks made an appearance at a Los Angeles Dodgers preseason game on April 3, 2010 when the Dodgers squared off against their rivals, the Los Angeles Angels. The group performed, "America the Beautiful" with a group of children prior to the game. Also, Simon Seville wore a wig of Manny Ramirez's dreadlocks. Ross Bagdasarian Jr. made the opening ceremonial pitch that game.
The Chipmunks made multiple appearances on an ads for Food Safety to help kids learn safe food practices.
There were five Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, a Golden Reel Award and three Kids Choice Awards in total.
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Following the cult success of the Lorimar Home Video release of the previously successful movie The Chipmunk Adventure on VHS, select episodes of the show from 1983 to 1990, as well as several specials from the '80s and '90s, were released on VHS. Initially, in 1989, they were distributed by Burbank Video. From 1992 to 1996, they were distributed by Buena Vista Home Video. From 1998 to 2000, they were distributed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The VHS Chipmunk Video Library titles featured select episodes from the Ruby-Spears and Murakami-Wolf-Swenson eras, but no opening and closing credits were included (even though the opening credits were intact on A Chipmunk Reunion). Instead, each tape opened with previews from the six primary Chipmunk Video Library titles, set to the 1988 version of the show's theme song titled "We're the Chipmunks". Also, a synthesized version of the 1983-1987 title card music was used on the Ruby-Spears episodes. However, unlike the syndicated versions for most of these episodes that were airing at the time, these episodes were presented in their original speed, just as they were on NBC, before they were sped-up for syndication. The early-mid-'90s Chipmunk VHS releases featured select episodes from the DiC era. The Universal Home Video releases consisted of the reissue of The Chipmunk Adventure and the two direct-to-video films.
There were also VHS releases in the U.K. that included episodes that have yet to be released in the U.S. on DVD and have never been released in the U.S. on VHS. They consist of "The Phantom", "The Wall", "Queen of the High School Ballroom", "Alvin's Not So Superhero", "Home Sweet Home", "All Worked Up" and "Phantom of the Rock Opera".
There was also a VHS tape released exclusively in Germany that featured seven different segments (albeit in German). On it were "The Wall", "The Amazing Chipmunks", "Psychic Alvin", "A Special Kind of Champion", "Cookie Chomper III", "Nightmare on Seville Street" and "Thinking Cap Trap". Of the seven, "The Amazing Chipmunks", which originally aired alongside "The Wall", is extremely hard to find in its original English language version.
In 2005, Bagdasarian Productions struck a deal with Paramount Home Video to distribute their latest direct-to-video release, Little Alvin and the Mini-Munks, on DVD. As a result, Paramount continued to distribute selected episodes of the show from 1983 to 1990, as well as several specials from the '80s and '90s on DVD, except for Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman (the home video rights to these specials are still owned by Universal Studios Home Entertainment) and the live-action films made from 2007 to 2015 (the home video rights to these films are owned by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment). The DVD releases include episodes of the 80's Alvin and the Chipmunks animated series that were previously released on VHS as well as episodes that have been previously unreleased on a home video format. Also one episode of The Alvin Show from the 1960s was released.
'He couldn't figure out whether to use worms or elephants or whatever,' said Ross Bagdasarian Jr., who took over the chipmunk business from his father. 'Suddenly, as he was driving through the sequoias [at Sequoia National Park], a chipmunk dashed out on the road and dared him to pass. Dad fell out of the car laughing and the Chipmunks were born.'